The story so far...
At the age of 12 weeks Isabelle has dropped her 2am feed and now sleeps from 11pm to 7am.
I head upstairs to check on Isabelle and notice that she is really is significantly bigger now; not such a newborn baby anymore, she has a real character and a lovely smile. I feel very proud to be part of this new life. I watch her sleeping for a while, and almost subconsciously realise that she is actually beginning to grow out of her Moses basket. I wonder if this has occurred to Lucy and James, and make a mental note to talk to them about moving her into a cot.
It has now become part of the weekly routine that on Sunday evening I arrive an hour earlier so that James and Lucy can go to the pub together for a break and some “me” time. When they return, I am all set up for the night ahead and ask Lucy if she has noticed how big Isabelle is growing. James tells me, “She does seem to be growing every day and the good thing is there’s more of her to hold onto at bathtime – she used to feel so tiny I was scared of letting her slip out of my hands!” I tell them that a baby’s birthweight should be approximately doubled by three months and that she should be taking about 2.5 oz of milk per pound of bodyweight each day. Lucy mentions the cot, pristine in the nursery and says maybe we need to think about moving Isabelle into it. I am pleased that she has said it first, although I know I have guided the conversation. We agree to discuss the best way forward on my next visit, a plan which gives them a few days to think about their approach.
On Tuesday night I ask Lucy if she has any thoughts on moving to a cot and she has been talking to friends about it, as I thought she might. I always try to get parents to tell me their thoughts before I mention mine, because Lucy and James are still learning how to be parents and I want them to make their own decisions as far as possible. After a little brainstorming we decide that the best route is to put Isabelle’s Moses basket into the cot for a week or so and then remove the Moses basket. At the moment Isabelle sleeps in her Moses basket beside her parents’ bed when I am not there and beside my bed when I am. She has her daytime naps in the basket in her nursery. So she has learnt three different sleep associations. Her sleeps take place in the same bed, but different rooms depending on what sleep she is having. She has adapted to this very well, but now she has to learn to sleep by herself.
When I arrive the following Sunday night the really big change happens. While Lucy baths Isabelle I take her blanket and her muslin from her Moses basket. I tuck the muslin tightly round the mattress about half way down, where Isabelle’s head will be and lay her sleeping bag on top. Once Isabelle has finished her feed I lay her into her sleeping bag and zip it up. I then tuck the blanket tightly round her and the mattress, making sure her feet touch the end of the cot (feet to foot).
Having seemed so large in the Moses basket, dear Isabelle looks rather lost in the enormous cot, and Lucy looks a little worried. Sometimes parents try to reduce the size of the cot by putting something above the baby’s head, but I am not a fan of this, unless it seems really necessary. Most babies at this age are going to use their sense of smell as much as their sense of sight for reassurance regarding their surroundings, which is why I will use the same bedding and babygro for tomorrow night too, to help Isabelle settle into this new cot.
So Isabelle is adapting well – what about James and Lucy?
They are also used to having Isabelle beside them every other night so how do they view the change? Lucy remarks, “It felt weird to know thatwhen she wasn’t beside us and you weren’t in the nursery with her, she was totally alone, but in the morning I felt quite proud of her!” James tells me, “I wasn’t disturbed by her little snuffling noises – I won’t call it snoring!” and Lucy quickly responds that no doubt Isabelle is quite glad not to be disturbed by James’s snuffling, “which I will call snoring!”.
We are progressing so well and I can certainly see that the end is in sight for this placement, which is just as well – Lucy’s sister has been on the phone again and it seems as if her children’s sleep problems are getting worse as time passes. Although Lucy is reluctant for me to go, she really doesn’t need me any longer. Isabelle is now sleeping through in her cot from 11pm until 7 am, so Lucy and James are getting at least seven hours’ quality sleep. She is developing well and will probably drop her 10pm feed in her own time within the next few weeks, although if she doesn’t Lucy knows I am at the end of the phone. So I feel the time is right to put a final date into our diaries and commit to a start date for Lucy’s sister.
Information on sudden infant death is available from the FSID, 020 7222 8001 or www.fsid.org.uk
Night Nannies Hampshire:
Georgie Bateman 01794 301762
Night Nannies Surrey:
Louise Young 07800 843618